The narrator for this audio series is bland. It sets my teeth on edge to listen to him attempt voices and try to sound natural. It sounds very much as though he doesn't care for what he is reading and is uncomfortable with the amount of weird, nerdy words he has to pronounce.
I will not be downloading any books that this narrator has done ever again.
Joe Hill might be edging his dad out in the creepy story genre.
This story was weird, crazy, eerie, and disturbing. I loved the concept of In-scapes and the characters Hill introduces here. If you like Stephen King, this is right up your alley. The little crossovers between the Hill and King universes are fun for veterans and newcomers alike.
In regards to narration, I'm not sure why Joe Hill enjoys Kate Mulgrew so much. Her performance was dumpy, homespun, and grating. I fought through Part One; I struggled to concentrate on the story while actively ignoring how dopey the "voices" sound. Vic and Charlie Manx aren't really bad, but Lou, Wayne, Vic's parents, Maggie, the numerous extras, etc. all sound like awful Fargo imitators. Her "Bing" voice, in particular, felt like she was trying to imitate Patrick from Spongebob while simultaneously doing her best Lenny voice from Of Mice and Men. Based on this book, I'd never listen to another Kate Mulgrew performance if I could help it.
If can you bear Mulgrew's performance, the payoff is a great story and a fascinating universe I'm eager to see more of.
Story and character development took enormous hits here. The rewrites are painfully flimsy - characters will frequently narrate what they see, but you never hear Ender's internal monologue.
The actors are barely recognizable from one another in some scenes. The person playing Colonel Graf returned from the 20th Anniversary Edition (a superior story treatment and performance), thus the 2 stars on Performance.
Stick with the 20th Anniversary version and follow it up with Ender's Shadow for a truly good story. This is a sad cash grab and cheesy production.
Pass on it folks.
I found my first encounter with Brandon Sanderson's work (The Final Empire) to be a slow, tedious headache. The concepts were unique, the plot inventive - but Sanderson suffered greatly from an immature sense of pacing. Too much internal monologuing, too little action. I don't mean action in the sense of swashbuckling, I mean it in the sense of moving the story forward. I was not excited about the prospect of listening to this book.
However, my friends insisted that he had really grown since The Final Empire and then I saw Patrick Rothfuss' comment about this novel on GoodReads. So I downloaded this book.
His storytelling is much improved in this tale. I found myself truly attached to Kaladin, Szeth, Dalinar and their fates. But writing alone did not do this. Michael Kramer brings this work to life. A lesser narrator would have let the story take over and run roughshod over the listener, but Michael demonstrates again why he is one of the best. Even in the most frustrating moments of the story, when you just want to skip the repeated internal monologues, Kramer skillfully maneuvers the listener through the muddy parts and sets you down safe on the other side, back in the action where you want to be.
Kate Reading however, could take some lessons from her counterpart. Mispronunciations of names littered her chapters and her inflections bordered on pouty valley girl at times. It's not enough to kill the mood, but it's noticeable.
There are still some pacing issues where Sanderson cuts away from the action and the moment and delves into a chapter of quiet introspection that reinforces a key characteristic of the hero. This characteristic has already been bludgeoned into you repeatedly at the outset, but I suppose he can't let you forget why the hero is so heroic.
All in all, it's a solid first entry into The Stormlight Archive. I will undoubtedly come to appreciate it more as time passes and I will definitely purchase the sequel the minute it debuts on Audible.
Neal Shusterman is one of my favorite authors - but this third and final entry into the Skinjacker Trilogy is a quirky misstep. Shusterman takes a huge leap down the dark rabbit hole of sinister children's fiction. It feels too very sudden, too overwhelming. I felt the abundance of plot lines boxed me into choosing one character to truly invest in and treat the rest as tangents. The decidedly more sinister tone felt like sandpaper at first.
However, Nick Podehl's performance made the book very enjoyable for me and recaptured a lot of the tone of the first book (which I read and didn't listen to). If you enjoyed the first two, there's no reason to skip this one, but it is definitely darker than its predecessors.
Nick Podehl is rapidly becoming my Narrator of choice. Brilliance Audio does a fantastic job with this book. The pacing, the characters, the imagery - it all comes through wonderfully. I'll definitely be buying Doors of Stone the day it comes out on audio.
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